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Laura James

Author, Columnist, Journalist

Laura James

Author, Columnist, Journalist

The human instinct is to tell stories. They bring comfort and warmth and make us feel we belong to something bigger than just ourselves. Sometimes the stories are so well told, that even when we learn new facts the myths prevail.
 
Rain Man is one of those stories that captured the collective imagination so completely that even today, more than 30 years since its release, it has shaped the way we still see autism.
Just like neurotypical people, all autistic people are different and the stereotype of geeky men doing something unfathomable crops out of the picture millions of people like me – autistic women who struggle to balance their current account, are baffled by spreadsheets and who are more interested in fashion than physics.
 
We need new stories so we can see how the geeky guy story is at odds with the lived experience of many people.
 
When I first got my autism diagnosis I was desperate to read about women just like me. I couldn’t find many, so decided to write my own and my memoir, Odd Girl Out, was born. The scarcity of stories about autistic women is one of the reasons many girls fly under the radar and get misdiagnosed or just missed. I spend a lot of time supporting new autistic writers so the storytelling landscape will grow and we will get to read about an even broader range of neurodivergent women.
 
 
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